Humanity is full of opinions and the internet makes it easier than ever to broadcast them. Just look at any of the thousands of review sites or even shopping sites where customers can leave their thoughts on products they purchased or happenings they don’t agree with. Being so full of opinions, it’s no surprise we all have an inner critic making note of our own performance. This inner critic is a powerful foe that can keep us from succeeding and achieving.
Outside of the paid reviewer, (yes, buyer beware there are paid reviewers that have never tried or tested the product) have you ever noticed people seem to leave only passionate reviews and opinions? From enraged, to deeply disappointed, to completely overjoyed, rarely does it seem that people stop and take the time to say a good or service is “pretty good, but on the average side.” There is no middle ground. Our inner critics are like the angry Amazon reviewer, or worse yet, the comments at the bottom of a news article; they’ve got an awful lot to say and it’s mostly negative! It seems the power of the internet and our inner critic are empowered to take aim and shoot at anything we feel called to without much thought. The brain is incredibly gifted at identifying the negatives. They stand out especially when juxtaposed against an otherwise blessed life. It doesn’t hurt to be aware of the less than stellar parts of our lives, but it does hurt when we dwell on it. Dwelling on the negative can also push us to attack others. When we get right down to it, it is about how we feel about ourselves in some aspect when we redirect that hostility to others. Misery loves company, and at times we look to find others who can join us.
Our brains have an innate negative bias, so it makes sense that inner critics love to dwell on our weaknesses. When drowning in this negativity, the positives get lost. We’re unable to see ourselves as we truly are, and it can impact the way we see others as well. Every accomplishment is undeserved, every task performed is not adequate enough, and we convince ourselves that somehow, in every aspect of our lives, we fall short of some imagined and unachievable perfection. All of this is rooted in a verbose inner critic whose views are a distortion of negativity that is separated from reality.
There is an old Cherokee proverb that says inside of everyone there are two wolves, one of positivity and one of negativity, always at odds with each other and fighting for our entire lives. The moral observation of the story is this: the wolf we feed is the wolf that wins. If we fuel negativity, we are caught in it as it takes over our perspective and becomes our reality. Before you become a keyboard warrior regarding others, or feel yourself spiraling downward ask yourself what about this situation fires me up? How does this relate to me? What might I NOT know or understand about the situation? Is it fact or feeling? If I were to show grace here, what would it look like? Now wait 10 minutes before you take any action and flip the switch with a positive reframe.
With self-awareness and a balanced perspective, our inner critic turns into an astute observer. An astute observer picks up on our shortcomings, but also our strengths, to determine where we can improve and how. This offers direction to personal growth, taking a step away from overwhelming negativity and a step toward a positively improved you.
If you’re looking to silence the inner critic in your life or create a new level of awareness in your life as your revise your perspective, connect with Brain Basics today to speak with our certified life coach. A life coach offers guidance toward a constructive future, away from our angry inner critics and towards raving five star reviews.